Runemaster - Dev Diary 24 - World: Svartalfheim

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SolSara

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Another busy week has gone, and a new one appears before us. After a long summer with lots of ice cream, sunny days and more thunder than Sweden has ever seen, we realised that we need to continue with the biweekly dev diaries instead of one every week. Hopefully you will have enough questions to last between each dev diary!

It is time to speak about one of the worlds in Runemaster - Svartalfheim!

The Races of Svartalfheim
Svartalfheim is named for the Darkelfs that inhabit the world; it translates to "the home of the Dark elf". Dwarfs and Darkelfs grudgingly share this world but the races are not fond of each other and wars are common between them.

The Dwarfs are known for their blacksmithing, especially weapons and armor and these skills have seen them grow rather rich from trade of their military equipment for other resources, such as foodstuff and materials scarce in Svartalfheim, like wood and leather.

Dwarfs live in beautiful chambers and corridors carved into the solid rock where they make their home. Their lives are strenuous and hazardous, which means that the average dwarven lifespan can be very short. But, if they survive the hardships of mining and smithing, a Dwarf can live for a very long time. They are the most skilled blacksmiths, and mine their mountains for precious metals and stones to use for their tools, weapons and armor.

Darkelfs are known for their backstabbing, their plotting, their devious ways and decadent lifestyle. They revel in all known pleasures and are known to go to great lengths in order to ensure that they have what they want. Forgotten by the gods, buried deep beneath the earth in Svartalfheim, the Darkelfs have little time and little esteem for the gods.

The Darkelfs' compact castles are carved from the rock and look as if they have been swallowed by a mountain, with only doors, windows, balconies and bridges visible among the rubble of rock. Each of the Darkelf castles contains several hundred Darkelfs, and as its population grows, so does the castle. The lower in rank a Darkelf is, the lower the floor where she or he lives. The Darkelf rulers depend on slaves for their decadent living and do not lack anything. Most of them never leave their castles and let their warriors and servants act in their behalf.

The Creation of the Worlds
Svartalfheim was the last world to be created, and it was mostly made of the leftovers from the creation of the rest of the worlds. The parts of Ymir that Odin and his brothers hadn’t used were placed underneath Yggdrasil, to serve as nourishment for it. The intestines, scraps of flesh, fat and organs that ended up there became Svartalfheim, and the Darkelfs and Dwarfs that took residence there found that the walls of their new world was shot through with minerals, ores and gems.

The Climate and Creatures of Svartalfheim
The world is dark, buried deep beneath the roots of Yggdrasil and the Sun never shines on the creatures who live there. It is a hostile world, with many dangerous creatures and few plants that can thrive there. Svartalfheim can provide the races with food and drink, although it is smelly and foul tasting. There are no seasons in Svartalfheim, and time is not easily measured there. Dwarfs and Darkelfs have learnt to live with this, and developed a kind of internal clock to have some sort of days and nights in order to keep everyone in the same zone.

Svartalfheim has unique flora and fauna; there are creatures and plants here that cannot be found in any other world. There are some animals that have managed to find their way into Svartalfheim, such as wolves and spiders, but there are very few if any herbivores that can survive in this hostile environment. Mushrooms and root vegetables grow in abundance, olms can be found crawling on every surface and fish can be caught from underground lakes.

Pre-Alpha Screenshots:
Runemaster_dd24_alpha.jpg Runemaster_dd24_alpha_02.jpg
These are very early screenshots of Svartalfheim and there is still lot of work to be done on the world, please keep that in mind.

We will return with a new dev diary in two weeks time! Until then, please let us know what you think about our game, discuss what kind of music, quests, battles and whatnot that you would like to see. We always try to answer your questions, and are delighted when we see that you find our game exciting by asking questions and being active on this forum.
 
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So, if dwarfs are trading for materials "rare in Svartalfheim," does that mean they have reasonably consistent access to other worlds?

Obviously the player will probably have to go on some sort of quest to get access to other worlds, but lorewise, how easy/common is it for people to travel between worlds? Would the average citizen of e.g. Muspelheim have ever seen a troll or a dwarf? Or would they know of them only through tales, if at all?

There are ways to the other worlds, but they are few and very dangerous. Large caravans will never make it through, but smaller groups are able to visit the other worlds. It all depends on where they live, the farther away from a hole between the worlds the less they know about other races. When the game starts, Ragnarök is approaching and this has caused new paths to open up.
 

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So besides the time-honored tradition of kidnapping babies, where do the dark elfs get their slaves from, just the dwarves or from any of the other worlds?

In the past I've asked if it would be possible to turn entire races away from one direction or choice or the other, and ya'll said that was still in the air. My new question is if it is possible that there could be factions within races or even within towns. For example, if possible could a player rally the slaves of the dark elfs to kill their masters and revolt and add the said units to the player's army??

Still up in the air :)

Ummm -- I really hope this permanent Biweekly thing is ONLY for Runemaster. I have been looking forward to the resuming of the weekly diaries on CK2 and EU4 and am now quite dismayed that they could be at risk.

I don't write the dev diaries for CK2 nor EU4, so you will have to ask that in their respective forum. We are three completely different teams so I don't think our decision would affect theirs.

I hope there will be a lot more enviromental detail added to the map.

Agreed. Those both look a bit sparse. I also noticed that the mushroom clusters in the we one screenie are identical. Hopefully there will be good variety in them before the game is complete.

I also hope the minimap works when the game is done. It seems to show identical location for the two screenshots. :)

The screenshots are PRE-alpha, and very old. We recently did some changes to the worlds and I had to use screenshots that are about six months old. There will be plenty more assets for the world. The minimap for one of the screenshots was broken, so I copied over the other ones to that one to make it look better. The minimap works and looks good.

Still pre alpha and you release this winter?

We will release the game sometime in the first half of 2015.
 

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Regarding quests, will certain races have quests that lead to more travel between the worlds than others? For example, with the Dwarfs being present in two worlds, can they readily travel between Dwarf locations on both sides, and have quests around this?
Similarly, would Darkelfs have quests / ability to raid other worlds for materials etc?

We will talk more about quests later on, I like your ideas and will suggest them to the team.
 

Hericage

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Most screenshots we've seen so far have been of outdoors locations. How will you handle cities and settlements? This description of the darkelfs and dwarfs of Svartalfheim suggests that they are fairly urbanized. Will there be special sub-maps/dungeons for city locations or will it be more like in e.g. HoMM where you can't really move around in a city but rather visit a "city screen".
You can move around in the cities, but they are rather small compared to player's character. Instead of one big "city screen" for everything you can do in a city there will be one screen for the trader, one for the trainer and one for the barracks etc and you will have to interact with NPCs or buildings in the city to open them
 

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How will these characters/buildings be specially marked (e.g. crossed swords on the minimap for the barracks, or a coin icon above the trader on the main map)?

They will have symbols above their heads and maybe be shown on the minimap. Still working on them.

Can we set them on fire?

No.
 

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I read at least two of the books about him and enjoy that world. But I still consider it a good thing that your darkelfs were not inspired from the D&D version.

I have read a couple of R.A Salvatore's books in Swedish, which might have been a mistake. Everyone shouted or roared or yelled their dialogs, and my head hurt after a while as I am a reader who really immerse myself into the book I am reading.
 

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Will it be possible to buy houses in the game?

No. It is kind of similar to the problem with having romance stories in the game; Ragnarök is approaching and you are decorating a home? Would be fun though... Maybe if we can combine Runemaster and The Sims? :D
 

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I have read a couple of R.A Salvatore's books in Swedish, which might have been a mistake. Everyone shouted or roared or yelled their dialogs, and my head hurt after a while as I am a reader who really immerse myself into the book I am reading.

Reading ANY book in swedish is a BIG mistake (with one exception ofcourse)!
 

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Reading ANY book in swedish is a BIG mistake (with one exception ofcourse)!

Which one? And what about the books that were written in Swedish? For example, "En man som heter Ove" - "A Man Named Ove" and "Min mormor hälsar och säger förlåt" - "My grandmother says hello and sorry" are two great Swedish books!
 

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Which one? And what about the books that were written in Swedish? For example, "En man som heter Ove" - "A Man Named Ove" and "Min mormor hälsar och säger förlåt" - "My grandmother says hello and sorry" are two great Swedish books!

Don't know about mrNibbles preferences, but "Röde Orm" is definitely worth reading in Swedish.
 

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Which one? And what about the books that were written in Swedish? For example, "En man som heter Ove" - "A Man Named Ove" and "Min mormor hälsar och säger förlåt" - "My grandmother says hello and sorry" are two great Swedish books!

Obviously Regina's book!

Well.. Röde Orm and those kind of books "might" the exception, but in general when i try to read a book in swedish - I feel that the language is so lackluster compared to english.
 

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Obviously Regina's book!

Well.. Röde Orm and those kind of books "might" the exception, but in general when i try to read a book in swedish - I feel that the language is so lackluster compared to english.

One last post about books, then we have to get back on track and discuss Svartalfheim instead. Yes, Regina's book and the short story collection "Stockholms Undergång" - "The End of Stockholm" as well, of course!

I don't think the Swedish language is lackluster, there are several words that exists in Swedish that does not have an equivalent in the English language. Let's have this discussion next Friday beer, deal?
 
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